News round up: Depression among the young ‘at alarming level’

Depression among the young at alarming level, says charity

A significant number of young people are depressed or struggling to cope and the situation is likely to worsen as recession takes hold, according to a report by the Prince’s Trust. One in 10 16- to 25-year-olds polled by the charity for its Youth Index study said they felt that life was meaningless, and more than a quarter (27%) said they were always or often down or depressed. Almost half of all those surveyed (47%) said they were regularly stressed.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Home Office row over ecstasy downgrade

The government’s drug advisers are to recommend ecstasy be downgraded to a class B drug, in a report due to go before ministers at the end of the month.

The advisory council on the misuse of drugs (ACMD) is expected to urge the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, to remove ecstasy from the class A category comprising the most dangerous drugs, following an extensive review of the medical risks associated with taking it.

The controversial proposal is set to ignite a fresh row with the Home Office, which confirmed yesterday it intended to keep ecstasy a class A drug, alongside heroin and crack cocaine.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

Poor pupils are falling farther behind

Poorer pupils appear to be falling farther behind their middle-class contemporaries as better-off families increasingly colonise the best state secondary schools.

An analysis by the Conservatives of government data shows the achievement divide between rich and poor schools to have risen by two percentage points within a year, despite the resources directed at reducing it. The proportion of teenagers achieving five good GCSEs including English and maths in schools where more than half of pupils are eligible for free school meals fell from 14 to 13 per cent between 2006 and 2007. At schools where fewer than a tenth of pupils are eligible, the proportion rose from 57 per cent to 58 per cent.

Read more on this story in The Times


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